Barn Love

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Farm Dog Week

I've been meaning to do a post dedicated to our dogs.  So after reading  The Charming Farmer's  post about this week being Farm Dog Week, I decided that this would be the perfect time to introduce the world to our pack.

The funny thing is that our dogs aren't farm dogs at all. They are farm dogs simply because they live on a farm. Most people think of Sheepdogs, Komondors or Australian Cattle Dogs when they think of a "traditional" farm dog.

Since our farm doesn't have cattle or sheep that need to be herded, we opted for a less traditional breed. The Chesapeake Bay Retriever. Between us and my in-laws we have four total, 3 of which live here full time.

All of our Chessies have been adopted - 3 out of 4 from The Chesapeake Bay Retriever Relief & Rescue. I can't say enough wonderful things about this organization, or the people that run it. They are truly a Godsend to the breed and have become dear friends of ours over the last ten years.

The 4th? Well, that's Boh, and he's special - he was "adopted" from Criagslist as a product of a broken home.  Seriously, you can't make this up.

From oldest to youngest...

Photo Courtesy of Gina Downin or Heather Hauser

Affectionately known as "Mama Grace", or "The Perfect Dog" she is the leader of the pack.  She was the first of the four to be welcomed to the farm. When she arrived, she had a horrible case of mange and required round the clock care from my mother in law.

Gracie will swim.... if she has to. Her true love is being on the front porch watching over the place. She's "Rooer", and she is even known to give the occasional smile (and by this I mean shows her teeth in a not so nice way) to keep the other dogs in line. A few years back, she was even given The Good Citizen Award - humorous to me considering what I just wrote about her smiling.

Gracie has shown the ropes to all of the dogs that followed in her footsteps, including our girl Abby.


We adopted Abby in the fall of 2007, right after our wedding. We called Gina Downin and told her that we would love a puppy - her response "puppies don't come along often, but when they do I'll let you know". A few short weeks later (if that long) our girl Abby arrived on the farm. Her and her litter mates were dumped off in a shelter, and it would become obvious to us later, that they were abused in some way.

She is the most skittish of the group, doesn't like loud noises, yelling, or even thunder. She is also the best swimmer of the bunch. Her first dip in the river was a cold February afternoon to retrieve a dead fish. I thought for sure I'd be swimming out to get her, but she was fine. A few years back we found out that she has hip dysplasia, and could benefit from a replacement. At the time, we were preparing to have our son, and spending between 5 and 8 thousand to do so wasn't feasible. We medicate her, and she's incredibly stoic, so it has all worked out fine.  Abby is a true smiler (unlike Mama Grace).

Abby has been the best "babysitter" for Kooper. The day we brought him home he was crying and she circled around us until we picked him up. She never leaves his side, and the two of them have such an incredible love and bond with each other.

...and then there was Boh.


Oh, where to start with our darling Boh. He belongs to my sister in law. She wanted a companion when she was living on her own, nothing on the CBRR site was a good fit for her at the time, so she saved him from a divorcing couple that had an ad on Craigslist.

He has always been such a sweet boy - I always said that if she didn't take him home that day, we would have.  Boh, and my sister in law lived with us on the farm for a time, and he loved it.  He loves to swim and make bubbles, and enjoys chewing on his rubber ball.  Since moving from the farm, Boh spends a lot of time on his momma's boat.

Boh's special trick is that he can actually catch his own tail. See, told you he was a special one.  He's a lover for sure, and he sure does love his Aunt Tabby.

and last but not least, our little boy Asher.


Remember how earlier I said that the Chessie Rescue doesn't usually have pups? Well, we started thinking about getting another dog and sure enough, who called us?  We basically aren't allowed to have thoughts about a puppy, because it somehow makes it come true for the organization.

Asher was one of eight (or maybe nine) pups. We had the privilege of playing with them on a few occasions before we picked one out and brought him home.  Having a new dog and an 18 month old was nothing short of hellish - though moms have some thing with their brain that makes them forget the bad parts so that we are crazy enough to do it all again, right?

Asher is a bad ass. No other way to put it - his bark can be down right out scary. In other words, he is the perfect dog to protect our family and our farm. Kooper isn't as close to him as he is with Abby. Perhaps because they were babies at the same time, both jockeying for my attention?  It was also pretty funny to be potty training a baby AND a puppy - some of Kooper's reactions to Asher peeing on the carpet were truly priceless.

All of our dogs are unique and all of them offer their own special thing to our family and our farm. Even though they are hunting dogs, none of them hunt - farmer boy isn't a hunter, or else Asher would have been his best candidate.

Besides, I can't imagine our waterfront farm having a Komondor.  Umm, yeah... I don't think so.


  1. Awesome post on your farm pups. I love Boh - would he have been named after the world's greatest beer?

  2. Thank you! You bet he was... He's a true Baltimore boy!